05.25.09

At Microsoft, Interoperability Sabotage Goes All the Way to the Top

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenDocument, Standard, Steve Ballmer at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link to deposition video | Full set of the deposition videos (including Ogg Theora versions)

Summary: Bill Gates deposition in the Novell vs. Microsoft case; more on the latest attack against ODF interoperability

SEVERAL months after the Ballmer deposition comes yet another request for Bill Gates to be deposed given further evidence of his misconduct. Mr. Gates is obviously too busy with his personal schemes and he will do whatever is possible to avoid the deposition. This is too familiar an excuse. For some background see:

As Groklaw explains, in the Novell vs. Microsoft case, it is being shown that Gates himself is directly responsible for stifling interoperability. This is a case of mischievous chiefs, not incompetent programmers.

Billg, as you’ll see him referred to in the exhibits, well, at the deposition, he don’t know nuttin’. Not much, anyway, less in the specificity. I know. Shocker. Asked if he knows what the term evangelizing meant as used by Microsoft, his first answer was that it’s used in different ways by different people. His answer when he is pressed for his understanding of the purpose of evangelizing is that it’s “usually to convert somebody to a religion belief.” Right. That’s the ticket.

He must have forgotten the 1997 “Evangelism is War” confidential Microsoft memo. Well, he’s a busy guy. His brain is full. Who can recall all this stuff?

Guess what the subject matter at issue is now? Interoperability. Or more exactly, extensibility, shell extensibility in Windows 95. This is the litigation over WordPerfect, if you recall, and the charge is that Microsoft deliberately withheld documentation to make it harder for competitors like Novell to compete. Like *that* would ever happen. What? Further, Novell’s claim is that it was Bill Gates who personally decided to “de-document” certain shell extensions. Just as they were getting to that topic at the half-deposition, Novell tells the judge, Microsoft unilaterally halted the proceedings.

We are seeing Microsoft as it repeats the same type of crimes at this very moment. See some details in:

The main centre of authority, the ODF Alliance, asserts that Microsoft’s ODF support is broken. As one other person puts it, Microsoft’s ODF ‘support’ (fork) is “bad for everyone.”

In shocking news, Microsoft’s support of ODF in Microsoft Office is basically unusable in many respects, according to the OpenDocument Format Alliance. This is a real problem for ODF’s adoption, since Office users who try using it, either for opening a document or for sending a document to someone else, will likely blame their issues on ODF, and, thus, avoid it.

What Microsoft has done with ODF support seems likely to harm ODF’s acceptance, rather than help it. It’s hard to tell if this move was incompetent or malicious or something entirely different?

What does Microsoft do in response? It’s currently citing long-time Microsoft boosters like Wouter van Vugt [1, 2]. Should Waggener Edstrom be invited to this disinformation party too [1, 2]? They are the masters. Steve Ballmer even married one.

Steve Ballmer on ODF

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